After appearing in a string of failed TV sitcoms, David Arquette made his film debut in 1992 with the now-cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His big career breakthrough came with 1996's horror spoof Scream, which also starred his future wife, Courteney Cox. He also starred in the Scream sequels and has done several smaller films since. He and Cox separated in 2010.
Early Life and Career
Actor, director, producer. Born on September 8, 1971, in Winchester, Virginia. Offbeat and unpredictable, David Arquette is known for playing a variety of quirky characters. He comes from a well-known family of actors, stretching back to his great-grandfather who worked in vaudeville. His grandfather Cliff Arquette was a comic actor and both of his parents have worked as performers. Older sisters Rosanna and Patricia and older brothers Alexis and Richmond have also explored careers in the entertainment industry.
Arquette was born on a commune in Virginia. He later moved with his family to Chicago before they settled in Los Angeles. In high school, he was passionate about acting and art. Arquette auditioned for several years before getting his first big break in 1990. He landed a leading role in the short-lived television series The Outsiders, which was based on the popular novel by S. E. Hinton. The book had already been made into a 1983 feature film with the same title, and Arquette played Two-Bit Matthews, a character that Emilio Estevez had portrayed on the big screen. Unfortunately, the teenage drama about rival groups in an Oklahoma high school failed to attract much of an audience and was cancelled after 13 episodes.
Also in 1990, Arquette landed a part in another television adaptation—the small screen version of the 1989 hit comedic film Parenthood. This series only lasted a few months before going off the air. He tried again in 1995 with Double Rush, a sitcom focused on a bike messenger service, but the show only lasted half of a season.
Arquette had better luck on the big screen. He made his film debut in 1992 with the now-cult classic, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and began attracting some notice from critics. He earned positive reviews for his work in the western Wild Bill (1995), starring Jeff Bridges in the title role and in the romantic dramedy Beautiful Girls (1996), starring Timothy Hutton.
On the Big Screen
His big career breakthrough came with 1996's horror spoof Scream directed by Wes Craven. In the film, he played a goofy deputy trying to solve a series of murders along with a television reporter, played by Courteney Cox. The two worked together on the film's two sequels, Scream 2 (1997) and Scream 3 (2000). Arquette and Cox developed a relationship off-screen, and married in June of 1999.
That same year, Arquette appeared as Drew Barrymore's brother in the popular romantic comedy Never Been Kissed (1999). He and Barrymore played adults who return to high school—he tries to regain his baseball glory days while she works on a newspaper article about the experience. More comedies soon followed. The wrestling-themed Ready to Rumble (2000) was a box office disappointment, earning only $12 million according to Variety. The Las Vegas crime caper 3,000 Miles to Graceland (2001) and the mutant spider adventure Eight Legged Freaks (2002) did not fare much better.
Arquette took on more dramatic fare with a small role in The Grey Zone (2002) about Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp . He also appeared as a journalist in the crime drama Never Die Alone (2004). That same year, Arquette and his wife welcomed their first child, a daughter named Coco.
In 2007, Arquette returned to series television with the short-lived sitcom In Case of Emergency with Jonathan Silverman, Greg Germann, and Kelly Hu. He also worked behind the scenes with his wife on Dirt, a new dramatic series about the world of tabloid journalism. Arquette and Cox served as executive producers on the show. He directed several episodes while Cox played the lead character of the series. It was cancelled in 2008 after two seasons. That same year, Arquette appeared in the comedy Hamlet 2 starring Steve Coogan. He also made guest appearances on such shows as Pushing Daisies and My Name Is Earl.
In recent years, Arquette has been creating his own projects. He made his debut as the writer and director for The Tripper (2007), a film about a serial killer who targets hippies. He also wrote the screenplay. This low-budget satirical look at horror films featured all-star cast, including appearances by his wife Courteney, brother Richmond, brother-in-law Thomas Jane, Paul Reubens, Balthazar Getty, Jaime King, and Lukas Haas. Most recently, Arquette screened a short film that he directed entitled The Butler's in Love (2008), which featured a performance by his brother Richmond.
In October 2010, Arquette and Cox announced they were separating.
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